Replica brands

Best Vegan Jerky Brands That Taste Like The Real Thing

Planning a successful road trip always takes a lot of planning, but the most important thing to remember is to pack the snacks. Fighting exhaustion, hunger and boredom, the long-distance driver’s best friend is a jack-of-all-trades snack like beef jerky. But plant-based travelers can’t reap the benefits of this high-protein snack. Or at least until now. We’re happy to report that several brands have tapped into demand for a plant-based or vegan jerky that packs protein, keeps you busy, and cures lack of drive.

Meatless Vegan Jerky offers the same bold, strong taste as traditional beef jerky, but without the cow. Plus, most vegan jerky brands have all the benefits and protein content of conventional snacking without the health risks and environmental impact of processed meat.

What is Plant-Based Jerky made of?

With so many brands of plant-based jerky to choose from, there are tons of options when it comes to ingredients. That means whatever other dietary restrictions you might have, there’s probably a perfect vegan jerky for you. Vegan jerky is cooked with several types of ingredients including mushrooms, fruits, pea protein blends and others.

Each brand’s recipe features a different base ingredient and a variety of seasonings, meaning there’s jerky for every palette. Whether you choose Moku’s oyster mushroom recipe or Sassy Birch’s jackfruit jerky, there’s a plant-based jerky made for everyone. Fruit-based jerky often contained fewer calories, making them perfect for a diet-friendly car snack. For long hikes or tiring journeys, proteins made from seitan or soy give you the energy you need to reach your destination.

Health Benefits of Switching to Vegan Jerky

The production of vegan jerky is better for the environment, often lighter in calories and, above all, significantly healthier. The main reason to think about trying vegan jerky is to avoid processed meats. A growing body of research has linked the consumption of red and processed meats to several life-threatening or chronic diseases. Eating processed meat, including conventional jerky, can increase the risk of heart disease by 18%.

Other studies have found even more serious consequences from eating processed meat. Eating processed meat may lead to a higher risk of colon cancer and increase the risk of developing type II diabetes by 33%. Now, instead of relying on the ultra-processed, sodium-rich meat typically found in convenience stores, there’s a tasty alternative that dramatically reduces the health risks associated with traditional beef jerky.

Choose your favorite jerky

With tons of options ranging from taste, texture, and ingredients, it can be difficult to choose the right jerky for you. Before you pack your bags, our list of the best vegan jerky on the market will allow you to choose the most appealing option for your palette. From fruit-based alternatives to near-perfect replicas, we’ve tested the best-selling vegan jerky meats available at retail so you can know the best brands to look for when shopping for the entire week.

Akua Sesame & Nori Sea Salt Kelp Jerky ($7.99 per 1.50 oz)

At first glance, seeing seaweed on the label of this jerky might turn some buyers away. But that would be a mistake. Akua’s Sesame & Nori Sea Salt Kelp Jerky is an unconventional, plant-based snack packed with essential nutrients. One serving contains 10 grams of fiber, 10 grams of protein, and 67% of your daily iron, and is only 150 calories. This kelp jerky is loaded with vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Note that this vegan jerky is also one of the most sustainable, using a zero-input culture (seaweed) that helps pull carbon from the environment and return it to sea plants.

calories 150

Total fat 8g, Saturated fat 2g

Protein 10g

Bella Sun Luci Plant-Based Tomato Jerky – Teriyaki ($5.28 per 2 oz)

For only 90 calories per 10 pieces, Bella Sun Luci’s Tomato-Based Jerky offers the perfect road trip snack. Since this vegan jerky resembles a sun-dried tomato in texture and taste rather than a conventional meat jerky, Bella Sun Luci’s Fruit Snack isn’t for everyone. Plus, it’s spicy: Bella Sun Luci generously seasons the tomato jerky with black pepper and teriyaki flavors, so if you like bran, give this jerky a try! For travelers looking for a fat-free snack with 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein, this tomato jerky is like winning big at the low-stakes table.

calories 90

Total fat 0g, Saturated fat 0g

Protein 6g

Beyond Jerky ($3.98 per 3 oz)

In typical Beyond Meat fashion, the plant-based meat giant has created a near-perfect replica of traditional beef jerky with a tough texture and bold flavor that literally makes your mouth water. The pea and mung bean mix provides 10 grams of protein with just 2 grams of fat and 0.5 of saturated fat. Beyond’s Jerky is marinated, slow roasted and kettle cooked to turn the pea and mung bean base into a meaty, lightly smoky snack. Reviews of this product are mixed. Some tasters complain of a slight – but noticeable – aftertaste, while others swear this jerky will turn even hardcore meat lovers into plant-based fans.

calories 90

Total fat 2g, F saturatedt 0.5g

Protein 10g

Country Archer Provisions Herbal BBQ Jekry ($6.99 per 2 oz)

From the artisan brand of beef jerky, Country Archer Provision’s version of the plant-based jerky misses the mark slightly. While mushroom lovers will be drawn to this plant-based jerky, this vegan alternative leaves a subtle but undesirable aftertaste that even mushroom lovers can’t ignore. The texture is almost too much like a cooked mushroom. While this snack won’t satisfy the beef jerky craving, barbecue-roasted mushrooms can provide a healthy and energizing snack. Take this on a hike.

calories 90

Total fat 1.5g, Saturated fat 0g

Protein 4g

Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Jerky ($4.98 per 2.25oz)

With a signature hardwood smoke aroma, Gardein’s seitan and soy jerky is flavorful enough to convince dad to leave Jack’s Links behind. Gardein has managed to craft a reliable plant-based jerky that packs 12 grams of protein per serving, making it the perfect portable snack for a road trip, hike, or a long day at work. Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Jerky contains 30% of your daily sodium intake, so for those who care about heart health, this wouldn’t be your first choice.

calories 90

Total fat 1g, Saturated fat 0g

Protein 12g

It’s Jerky Y’all Plant-Based Jerky, Prickly Pear Chipotle ($7.98 per 2.7 oz)

With Texas roots, It’s Jerky You all know how to smoke barbecue jerky. Defying the best beef jerky brands, It’s Jerky Y’all Spicy Plant-Based Jerky offers a bold-tasting jerky alternative with a kick. While the texture may be too tough for some jerky lovers, biting into this snack will be almost exactly like tearing up traditional beef jerky. The only difference is that you are eating soy protein. Enjoy it as a treat, because despite its label of prickly pear, which is a healthy plant, this jerky has one of the highest fat contents we’ve found.

calories 150

Total fat 8g, Saturated fat 1g

Protein 7g

Louisville Vegan Jerky Smoky Carolina BBQ ($7.39 per 3oz)

Small-scale locally sourced batches set the Louisville Vegan Jerky Co. apart from the rest of the pack. With a sweet and tangy barbecue flavor, this vegan jerky stays true to its roots with a southern-style jerky that will satisfy most traditional jerky lovers. With 5 grams of protein per serving and only 3 grams of fat, Louisville Jerky offers a healthy alternative to beef jerky. This vegan jerky, made with soy protein, deftly recreates the texture well enough to fool even the most loyal beef jerky aficionado.

calories 100

Total fat 3g, Saturated fat 0g

Protein 5g

Moku Plant-Based Jerky Original ($7.00 per 2oz)

Moku’s signature oyster mushroom recipe delivers a vegan jerky that looks and tastes like the beloved convenience store snack. Moku’s plant-based jerky is flavored with onion, garlic, and black pepper to give it the same savory flavor as traditional beef jerky, but is much healthier. The texture is more chewy than other plant-based jerky brands we’ve tasted, giving jerky lovers an exceptionally juicy option. This vegan jerky also has 3 grams of fiber per serving and is one of the few certified organic jerky we found.

calories 110

Total fat 4.5g, Saturated fat 0g

Protein 3g

For other great herbal recommendations, check out The Beet’s product articles.